7.09.2020
Human Rights Without Frontiers

News about Baha’is in Iran in August

Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan returns to prison, three days after his wedding • Two arrests in Vilashahr, Isfahan Province • Liza Tebyanian arrested again in Karaj • Farid Moqadam-Ziraki gets additional one-year sentence • Nine Bahais from Karaj receive one-year sentences • Volunteer firefighter barred in Shiraz, for Bahai beliefs

Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan returns to prison, three days after his wedding

Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan, a 32-year-old Bahai from Semnan who is serving a six year sentence for his beliefs, was granted a short prison furlough recently. During the furlough, he married Golrokh Firuzeyan, also from Semnan, who has also served two prison terms for her beliefs. He requested an extension to his furlough, but this was denied by the Ministry of ‘Intelligence.’

Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan was born in Semnan Prison. His parents were both imprisoned in 1983, for adhering to the Bahai Faith, and Ardeshir was born in the prison in 1988. He was arrested early in 2013 and sentenced to 8 months in prison. Golrokh Firuzeyan was among the young Bahais arrested and sentenced at that time, and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. They were charged with various offenses, but eventually sentenced for “propaganda against the regime.” Both began their sentences on January 10, 2014. When Ardeshir had completed his sentence, he was sent to do military service. Golrokh’s sisters, Yalda Firouzeyaan and Shidrokh Firuzeyan have also served six-month prison sentences. Yalda currently faces another sentence, of two years and six months. Their father, Hadjbar Firuzeyaan, served a 40-day sentence in 2014, charged with libel against an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence. He had complained to the judicial authorities that one of his daughters was beaten in prison. When they took no action, he wrote to the President of the Islamic Republic, describing the beating. He was charged with libel and fined, but refused to pay the fine and was sent to prison instead.

Two arrests in Vilashahr, Isfahan Province

On August 23, Mazhdeh Eqteraafi and her husband Houshmand Taalebi were summoned and arrested in Vilashahr. After their arrest, officers went to the Bahai couple’s home and searched it, confiscating laptops, cell phones, books, and an acoustic “Dastgah” keyboard. Two cars and a truck belonging to the family have been confiscated.

Liza Tebyanian arrested again in Karaj

HRANA reports that Liza Tebyanian, a Bahai living in Karaj, was arrested by security forces on the evening of Saturday, August 16, and taken to an unknown location. The grounds for her arrest and the charges against her remain unknown.

She was previously detained on March 16, 2017, and was released on bail from Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on April 26. In August 2017, she was sentenced to 7 months in prison by Branch 4 of the Karaj Revolutionary Court on charges of “propaganda activities against the regime.”

Branch 12 of the Alborz Court of Appeals acquitted Ms. Tebyanian of the charges against her, arguing that teaching the Bahai faith was not propaganda against the regime.

Farid Moqadam-Ziraki gets additional one-year sentence

A criminal court in Birjand has sentenced Farid Moqadam-Ziraki, whose name is reported in this case as Farid Ziragi-Moqadam, to one year in prison. He was charged with “insulting the sanctities of Islam.” The judge was Mehdi Shiri Abbaasabaad. His judgement referenced internet postings, apparently referring to Telegram repostings that included Bahai interpretations of the Quran, the coming of the Mahdi, the “seal of the prophets” and other theological points.

Mr. Ziragi was notified of the new sentence on August 19. A Revolutionary Court has already sentenced him to five years in prison on a charge of “membership of the illegal Bahai organisation”, with a one-year concurrent sentence for “propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic.”

Nine Bahais from Karaj receive one-year sentences

The Revolutionary Court in Shahriar, which lies between Karaj and Eslamshahr on the Western fringe of Tehran, has sentenced nine Bahais to one year in prison for ‘propaganda against the regime.’ They are Mr. Keyaanush Salmaanzaadeh, Mrs. Jamileh Paakrou, Mr. Paymaan Ma’navi, Mr. Payaam Sha’baani, Mr. Parvan Ma`navi, Mrs. Ilham Salmanzadeh, Mr. Houman Khoushnam, Mrs. Neda Shabaani and Mr. Soroush Agaahi. They were arrested in September and November, 2018, and are at present free on bail. The trial was held on July 27, and sentences were announced on August 6. The trial judge was Judge Panahi.

At the time of their arrest, agents searched the homes of some of these detainees and seized personal belongings, including books, computers, laptops and mobile phones. The business premises of some of them were also sealed after their arrest.

Volunteer firefighter barred in Shiraz, for Bahai beliefs

Kiarash Mo`ini, a 19-year-old Bahai from Shiraz, has been expelled from the volunteer firefighters because of his Bahai beliefs. The head of his team in the fire department informed him of this in a meeting on July 25, and told him to return his firefighting uniform. The team leader said he was acting under pressure from the Security Department [This is not a department of the fire service, but rather the Ministry of Intelligence presence within the fire service, analogous to the Political Commissars in the Soviet Union.] Mr. Mo`ini has been a volunteer for about two years, and has gained proficiency certificates in training courses. The voluntary firefighters are an auxiliary, used in emergencies or to fight exceptionally large fires.

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